By Konstanze Hütter
Being able to go home every weekend: for some Dutch students a blessing, for others a curse. It is not only the warm meal your mother has already waiting for you that may cause jealousy in international students. It is simply the fact that you can have it whenever you want. Identifying three homesickness situations, the Boomerang comes to the rescue.
Many UCU students are already familiar with being away from whatever place they call home. Some may have even developed a way to make themselves feel comfortable wherever they go. But neither the seemingly immunized international students nor the Dutchies are safe from the imminent feeling of nostalgia. The feeling that makes you miss your own bed or the tree outside your window.
Although we like to consider ourselves independent students, there are three key moments in every student’s life when you will be taken off guard by homesickness. Luckily, there is a cure for each of them.
(1) When you visit home during a short break: Not only does this trigger homesickness once you are separated by a thousand miles again, it also makes you think about your new life situation. Numerous students told me after fall break that they had enjoyed being reunited with their family and friends so much, that at times they had even wondered whether coming back to campus would pay off.
Cure: Do something that you enjoy on campus! When you are having fun here, you are less likely to spend time thinking about the people and things you miss. Stay active, talk to people, and throw yourself into activities. Before you know it, you are way too busy to be homesick.
(2) When the holidays are approaching: Sinterklaas’ pepernoten accompanied by a lovely Christmas spirit make it difficult not to feel some nostalgia. And who could blame you: there is still a long way to go until you can wear that ugly (but yet stylish) holiday sweater your grandma gave you. First there are all those exams, projects, presentations and essays to overcome…
Cure: When you go home, bring something that reminds you of it. Pack photos or letters, a favorite stuffed animal, sleep shirt, or pillow. Next time you start longing for familiar faces and places, you will have a little bit of home right there with you.
(3) When you get sick: Oh, boy. Nothing hits you as hard like this kind of homesickness. Especially when you are feeling all like an adult – managing your own dishes, laundry and studies just fine – and then bam, you get sick. Even if it is “just” a cold, you suddenly have an enormous amount of time to think about everything you miss. Worst part: your mommy is not there to hold your hand and make you tea.
Cure: Although it may feel weird at first, let a unitmate or a friend know that you are not feeling well and need some love and attention for a few days. We are a community and like to look out for each other.
Remember one thing at all times: homesickness might not always be as bad as it seems! It also means you have people that are worth missing and another place to call home.